I have had the privilege of serving as coordinator for Pathfinder, Adventurer, and Youth Ministries for the Pacific Union since 2012. For the last 16 years, I have also served as youth director for the Northern California Conference.
I attended Redding Adventist Academy and am a graduate of Rio Lindo Academy, and Pacific Union College. I obtained my master’s and Doctor of Divinity degrees from Andrews University. My wife, Tammy, and I are the parents of two teenage boys.
As a young man, my faith development was impacted significantly by working at Leoni Meadows summer camp under Larry Caviness and Don Livesay. They trusted me and empowered me to use the skills that God had given me, even when I was too young to really understand what was happening.
When I was 18, I showed up at Leoni Meadows to work at camp, and when I walked in the door all Caviness said was, “Here's a California DMV book. On Friday you're going to go take your bus driver’s test so you can drive a bus all summer.” I was too naïve to understand what that meant, so I went ahead and did it. I spent the rest of the summer driving kids around in buses, and then that progressed to ski boats.
Eventually, when I became a summer camp director and a director in Pathfinders, I realized that our kids rise only to our expectations and often we don't expect enough of them. I learned that you have to give them the tools to do the job. I hope to make the same kind of meaningful difference in the lives of young people by empowering them to do the same.
As youth director for the Northern California Conference, I run a summer program called On the Run, a traveling summer camp. As director, I train and empower my staff to run the program. I supervise them, but I empower them and allow them to make a lot of decisions.
In the Pacific Union alone there are more than 8,000 Pathfinders, with many more adult leaders and volunteers. I believe the Pathfinders program is important because it brings kids together where they can learn about Jesus, learn about nature, and learn life skills while making new friends. Pathfinders is an amazing ministry because it brings adults and youth together in a way so that they can learn from each other.
We are really looking forward to the Pacific Union Pathfinder Camporee that will be held October 5 through 8 at Lake Skinner in the Southern California region. We are excited about this event because it brings together young people from all over the union, enabling them to make friends, learn new skills, and deepen their relationship with Jesus. This year’s theme is “Identity,” and the featured speaker will be Damian Chandler from the Capitol City church in Sacramento, California.
Future Pathfinder events include the Believe the Promise Camporee in Gillette, Wyoming, in August of 2024 where there will be more than 50,000 Pathfinders from all over the world.
For more information on the upcoming camporee at Lake Skinner, visit puccamporee.org. For more information on Pathfinder and Youth Ministries in the Pacific Union Conference, email Eddie Heinrich at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eddie Heinrich is the coordinator for Pathfinder, Adventurer, and Youth Ministries of the Pacific Union Conference.